Help for visiting Ashrams

#1 Jan 27th, 2017, 19:42
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Hello everyone,
I need your helpful advice and suggestions. I'm planning a 3 months trip to India in search of treasures within. I'm fascinated by the great seekers of India from Buddha to Ramana Maharshi, who have explored the mind and the essence of our existence. My trip is a pilgrimage to these traditions and places. I will be grateful if you can help me with my journey. I have not much idea of these places. I intend to travel light and stay in monasteries and ashrams wherever possible. I haven't made elaborate plans and hoping that the Universe will guide me and help me find shelter on my journey. Rough itinerary that is being shaped is here. I look forwards to your advice and suggestions on it:

Delhi (I want to visit Shivali Yogi, if possible)
Dharamasala - Dalialama's monastery
Uttarkashi, Kedarnath ,Badrinath
Rishikesh - Paramjeet Niketan, Baba Neeb Karori Ashram
Haridwar
Gorakhpur - Gorakhnath Mutt
Varanasi
Bodhgaya - 10 day Vipassana
Ranchi, Yogoda Satsanga Sakha Math
Coorg, Karnataka- Namdroling Nyingmapa Tibetan Monastery
Coimbatore (Sadhguru, Isha Foundation)
Kodaikkanal ( Tureya Ashram)

I know Rishikesh, Varanasi etcetra are holy places but not sure places or ashrams I need to focus on. I do not want to miss ashrams of any living or past spiritual masters. Look forward to your help.

Peace and happiness to you all.

S
#2 Jan 28th, 2017, 16:05
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I meant Shiv Yogi ( in Delhi)
#3 Jan 28th, 2017, 23:08
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The only point i would make is that given that Enlightenment is found within, you do not need to visit any of them. watch out for charlatans, there are probably more of them in the Holy Places than Gurus and they just love the Londoners who are not sure which Ashrams to focus on.

Please be careful.
#4 Jan 29th, 2017, 18:34
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Originally Posted by captain bruce View Post The only point i would make is that given that Enlightenment is found within, you do not need to visit any of them. watch out for charlatans, there are probably more of them in the Holy Places than Gurus and they just love the Londoners who are not sure which Ashrams to focus on.

Please be careful.
Thanks Captain for your wise words. I feel that I need to make this physical journey to return to find what is present within me, as you say. I'm seeking only peace and positivite energy of these places and hopefully will avoid negative aspects you have pointed out. Thanks for your advice.
#5 Jan 29th, 2017, 19:17
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Originally Posted by captain bruce View Post The only point i would make is that given that Enlightenment is found within, you do not need to visit any of them. watch out for charlatans, there are probably more of them in the Holy Places than Gurus and they just love the Londoners who are not sure which Ashrams to focus on.

Please be careful.
If you go into the jungle hunting for tigers, be careful you don't become the hunted!


What Is An Ashram


An ASHRAM is an abode of ACTIVE REST from the turmoils and labours of life.

It means, where there is no worldly effort.

NA + SHRAMA = NO EFFORT = ASHRAMA

But there is a spiritual effort.

The effort to abide, where God is present.

God is present within man and also present in the universe. It empowers both.

Thus the POWER OF GOD vivifies man and the universe, in being what they are.

Hence mortal man blooms into divinity and the universe blooms as nature.

Thus the biblical saying goes to indicate the destiny of man.

“MAN WAS MADE IN THE IMAGE OF GOD.”

But WHERE was GODS IMAGE made in man???

It is there, that one should learn to abide in order to have the God-experience in due course.

That is why, that place is called an ashram.

It is the true abode of a monk, nun, hermit, sadhu or a Swami, who is in a contemplative state.

But in popular parlance, the physical place of abode, or residence of a monk or sadhu is also called an ashram.

This is how it is well known in India.

A residential place.

Hence a true ashram should not have a worldly agenda, toil, labour and service of any order.

It should be an exclusive residence or place only for contemplation.

Any other intention defeats its purpose.

Even scholarship and scriptural study is to be relegated to the background.

WHY?

As the scripture is no more than a tourist guide map.

One has to ‘WALK THE WAY’ as the expression goes.

That is, one has to live the understanding, by abiding in the place where there is no effort and where God is ever present.

The EFFORT to be in the NO-EFFORT STATE.

That is where NIRVANA will eventually transpire.

Therefore this is the main purpose in entering a physical ashram or monastery, so that one can find the environment to so abide in the true ashram present within every mortal being.

But if the ashram as an institution has a worldly or any other agenda, then it defeats it’s said purpose and thereby UNSPIRITUAL people join the club and vitiate the atmosphere therein, with their worldly nature and agenda.

This is the fate of ashrams all over India.

Hence a good monk or sadhu or swami never remains for long in any one of these institutions.

He does not want to be institutionalised.

He is normal.

I was once asked in a T.V. interview in the U.S.A. by the hostess “that I do not belong to an institution.”

I replied to her “Yes, I am normal”.

And she had a big chuckle out of it.

Therefore he chooses to LIVE ALONE, unattached to any so called ashrams or institutions.

Nor does he create one of his own.

As such, ashrams cater to the misfits, unfits and no-fits.

Therefore beware before you join these clubs wittingly or unwittingly.

Spiritual life is a ONE TO ONE dialogue with God, or rather to be more precise, with your God-nature eternally and ever-present within you.

Try to understand this fact and live your life accordingly.

If not, you will be vegetating in these institutions, and spiritual stagnation transpires.

Rather, have the courage and the strength to live on your own, in whatever manner it deems fit for you.

Thus live alone in your true ashram.

Thus will you be in TUNE with your Divine Nature ever present within you.


Source; http://himalayanhermit.com/what-is-an-ashram/#more-651
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#6 Jan 29th, 2017, 21:09
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Man is a social being and no man is a island so the quest to find spiritual upliftment through travel and people is justified!

A couple of places that come to mind are Beas Maharaj Ji Ashram ,Shantikunj Ashram Hardwar, Ramana Maharishi Ashram Thiruvanamalai( can be avoided if one does not want to travel so far at the South of India)! There are many more ; but the majority of the ones which are far from the maddening crowd would be in the Himalayas!
#7 Jan 30th, 2017, 04:14
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Thank you Kullukid for sharing your knowledge and for advice. It was interesting to learn the etymological definition of the word Ashram. I'm just waking up! Hopefully I'll progress with time.

Thanks Gametotravel for your suggestions on Beas Maharaji Ashram and Shantikunj Ashram. Beas Ashram sounds really interesting! I really appreciate your help!
#8 Jan 31st, 2017, 11:12
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Hello,

You can visit Ramana Ashram in Tiruvannamalai. Ashram will provide accommodation, but you have to send email month in advance to check on the availability.

There are caves where Ramana Maharshi have Meditated for years together.

For more details you can check in the website.

http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/


Thanks,
Praveen
#9 Feb 1st, 2017, 03:15
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Originally Posted by Praveen HG View Post Hello,

You can visit Ramana Ashram in Tiruvannamalai. Ashram will provide accommodation, but you have to send email month in advance to check on the availability.

There are caves where Ramana Maharshi have Meditated for years together.

For more details you can check in the website.

http://www.sriramanamaharshi.org/


Thanks,
Praveen
Thanks Praveen! I'm really keen to visit Ramana Ashram. I appreciate your suggestion and the website link. I'll contact the Ashram a month before I get there, as suggested. Thanks!
#10 Feb 1st, 2017, 16:53
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Originally Posted by Sat Chitta View Post Thanks Praveen! I'm really keen to visit Ramana Ashram. I appreciate your suggestion and the website link. I'll contact the Ashram a month before I get there, as suggested. Thanks!
I would allow at least 3mths if I were you, it's a very busy/touristy place & at certain times of year you just won't get in. When are you thinking of going? There are good times to go North & good times to go South, so this is an important factor when planning.
#11 Feb 9th, 2017, 00:16
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Originally Posted by kullukid View Post I would allow at least 3mths if I were you, it's a very busy/touristy place & at certain times of year you just won't get in. When are you thinking of going? There are good times to go North & good times to go South, so this is an important factor when planning.
Thanks Kullukid! Apologies for my delayed response. I am traveling with sporadic access to internet. I'm planning to be in India from 10th March to the end of June.
#12 Feb 9th, 2017, 03:13
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Originally Posted by Sat Chitta View Post Thanks Kullukid! Apologies for my delayed response. I am traveling with sporadic access to internet. I'm planning to be in India from 10th March to the end of June.
So would be best to start at Thiruvanamalai & end in the Himalaya's. Fly into Chennai & out of Delhi. Maybe cut a few places out of your list, especially the Big Guru places (you will be disappointed!) & probably Gorakhpur. Try visiting a few non-ashram places & just enjoy India! KK
#13 Feb 9th, 2017, 12:52
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Tiruvanamalai is tremendous if you are interested in meditation, Ramana Maharshi and self-inquiry. It's a very interesting crowd assembled there at the foot of Mt Arunachala. Ramanashram is a great operation - very clean and well-maintained. Good vibe, lots of people meditating. A peaceful place where the inquiring spirit of Maharshi lives on. No pressure of any kind to do anything in particular. There aren't even any donation boxes (though you can donate in the office if you want). All are welcome, just come and go as you wish. No need to make arrangements to stay inside the ashram. Most people don't, as there is ample budget lodging within walking distance.

If at all possible, try to time your Tiru visit for the full moon. Every 28 days, many thousands of people arrive at Mt Arunachala to walk barefoot around the holy mountain, visiting the 8 Shiva lingam and other shrines along the the way. The journey takes most of the night. It's a memorable spectacle and a great experience, to be swept along with so many people honoring the sacred mountain. Pujas, fire, smoke, chanting, etc.

I loved Tiru, and hope to return soon. Some pics of my 2016 visit:

https://seancho.smugmug.com/Sean-pog...os/Arunachala/
#14 Feb 9th, 2017, 19:10
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Originally Posted by kullukid View Post So would be best to start at Thiruvanamalai & end in the Himalaya's. Fly into Chennai & out of Delhi. Maybe cut a few places out of your list, especially the Big Guru places (you will be disappointed!) & probably Gorakhpur. Try visiting a few non-ashram places & just enjoy India! KK
Dear Kullukid, Thanks for your suggestion. It sounds good. Unfortunately I have already booked my flights in and out from Delhi. And I have also booked a 10 day Vipassana in Bodhgaya from 1st of April. Though I haven't been to north of India, I'm aware that there are plenty of beautiful places to visit. But I want to travel this time with a different mindset. I may not need Ashrams for that but will definitely help to keep the peace and quiet within. Do you think Girakhpur is a deviation and not worth spending time on?
#15 Feb 10th, 2017, 00:32
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Originally Posted by seancho View Post Tiruvanamalai is tremendous if you are interested in meditation, Ramana Maharshi and self-inquiry. It's a very interesting crowd assembled there at the foot of Mt Arunachala. Ramanashram is a great operation - very clean and well-maintained. Good vibe, lots of people meditating. A peaceful place where the inquiring spirit of Maharshi lives on. No pressure of any kind to do anything in particular. There aren't even any donation boxes (though you can donate in the office if you want). All are welcome, just come and go as you wish. No need to make arrangements to stay inside the ashram. Most people don't, as there is ample budget lodging within walking distance.

If at all possible, try to time your Tiru visit for the full moon. Every 28 days, many thousands of people arrive at Mt Arunachala to walk barefoot around the holy mountain, visiting the 8 Shiva lingam and other shrines along the the way. The journey takes most of the night. It's a memorable spectacle and a great experience, to be swept along with so many people honoring the sacred mountain. Pujas, fire, smoke, chanting, etc.

I loved Tiru, and hope to return soon. Some pics of my 2016 visit:

https://seancho.smugmug.com/Sean-pog...os/Arunachala/
Thanks Seancho for the info on Thiruvanamalai. I'm really looking forward to spending some time there. It sounds like a really good place to meditate. Thanks for the link to your beautifully captured photographs. They are really lovely!

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